Have you ever felt like your chest and throat were on fire? Like you couldn’t escape the pain, even when lying down? Chances are that you’ve experienced heartburn. Though this digestive disorder is rarely a serious health concern, it can still be very painful.
Heartburn, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is caused by gastric acid flowing from the stomach into the esophagus. This acid causes burning chest pains that begin at the breastbone and move up toward the neck and throat. The pain is often worse after eating, and lying down exacerbates it.
Much of the time, heartburn is caused by lifestyle choices. These include:
- Drinking too much caffeine
- Drinking alcohol
- Being overweight
- Using aspirin or ibuprofen
- Eating spicy or fatty foods
- Eating citrus or chocolate
Being pregnant can also increase your heartburn risk. If you’re pregnant and experiencing heartburn, consult your physician before taking any steps to prevent or treat it.
Prevention and treatment
Most of the time, avoiding and alleviating heartburn can be as simple as making a lifestyle change. Take control of your diet, quit smoking and monitor your medications. These small steps will improve your overall health and will likely put a stop to your heartburn problem. Another tip for preventing heartburn: Don’t lie down after a meal. This makes it easier for gastric acid to flow to your esophagus.
If the above steps don’t eliminate your heartburn problem, don’t hesitate to see a physician. If heartburn goes unchecked, it may cause damage to your esophagus and cause other complications.
Posted: 7/24/2015 by
Filed under: Chest, GERD, Heartburn, Pain